Alternate Format Analysis – Trinity: Dragon Rulers

Dragon Rulers. Forbidden in the OCG, and Forbidden in the TCG. Time and time again, the level 7 Rulers have been referred to as “The best monsters ever printed”. First awakened in Lord of the Tachyon Galaxy of late 2013, these guys have been a part of almost every metagame that they’re legal in. But how do they fare in Trinity format? The most recent Trinity Banlist (January 1st, 2017) features the Unlimiting of all “Dragon Ruler” monsters – Both the Level 7s, and the babies.
If you’re unfamiliar with Trinity, you can read an Introduction about it here!


Trinity Dragon Rulers: The Basics

There are a LOT of Dragon Ruler variants. I intend to cover most of the more commonly seen ones in this article, although this really is only the beginning. With over 200 Dragon-Type monsters in the game, a plethora of mill strategies supporting the rulers, and all of the possible tech choices, Dragons can be one of the most fun decks to build. So, what do they do?

The Rulers

There are two types of “Dragon Ruler” monster. The level 7s monsters, who all share stat totals of 4600:

And the “Baby” Rulers, who are a combination of level 3 and level 4 monsters:

The Baby Rulers are pretty straightforward: You can discard a Baby and a monster with the same Type or Attribute as that baby to Summon the corresponding Adult ruler from your deck, but it can’t attack that turn. The level 7 monsters are much more wordy and complex, but they all share the same bundle of effects:

1 – Summoning Condition

You can Summon a Level 7 Ruler, from the Hand or Graveyard, by banishing 2 other monsters from your Hand or Graveyard. (The monsters you banish must be either Dragon-Type monsters, or share an attribute with the Ruler you’re summoning).

2 – Search upon Banishment

If a Level 7 Ruler is banished, you can add a monster with the same Type and Attribute as it from your deck to your hand. This is usually used to search a Tuner monster to make a quick Synchro summon, or to search another copy of the Dragon Ruler which was just Banished.

3 – Bouncing

During the opponent’s End Phase, if a Ruler is on the field that was Special Summoned, it returns to your hand. Note that most of the time, this is irrelevant – you’re going to use them for Extra Deck plays anyway!

4 – Attribute Effects

Each ruler also has an additional effect, which can be activated by discarding that Ruler and a monster with the same Attribute (You can’t just discard any Dragon, unlike the other effects):

  • Blaster (FIRE): Destroys any card on the field
  • Tidal (WATER): sends any card from your deck to the Graveyard
  • Tempest (WIND): adds any Dragon monster from your deck to the hand
  • Redox (EARTH): Special Summons any monster from your Graveyard (even himself!)

This is quite a lot to take in, especially if you’re not used to playing with Dragon Rulers. Generally the goal is to banish monsters to summon the Rulers with their first effects, or by discarding the Babies. If you banish a different Level 7 Ruler this way, their next effect will activate which can search for a Dragon-Type monster. Usually this will be a level 1 Tuner monster, who can then be normal summoned and used to synch up with the level 7 Ruler you just summoned. You’ll also sometimes be able to make Rank 7 XYZ monsters with two of the level 7 rulers.

Common Techs: Monsters

The main effect that each Ruler is going to use is their Summoning Condition. To summon a Ruler (without a baby), you need to banish 2 monsters from your hand or graveyard. Since Dragon-Type monsters can be used as fuel for any of the bigger dragons, we’re going to need a lot of dragons in the maindeck!

Poki Draco

Poki Draco is an Unbound card (Meaning that you can put up to 3 copies into a 30-card deck, without needing to include the usual extra 5 cards). It’s also a FIRE monster for Blaster’s effect, and can search itself upon Normal Summon.

This last point is actually very noteworty: If you can protect your Poki Draco (With something like a Mirror Force or Solemn Warining), you can make a Rank 3 XYZ next turn, as well as netting yourself another search! Poki Draco is also a target for Debris Dragon (or Crane Crane), which is a card I’ll be getting into a bit later. In a nutshell, Poki puts 3 more dragons into your grave when uninterrupted, and can be a plus two in terms of card advantage.

Level 1 Tuners

Dragunity Corsesca and Flamvell Guard are the best level 1 Tuners that can be searched by your big  Rulers. Corsesca is searched through Tempest and Flamvell Guard is searched by Blaster. It’s worth noting that Guard is also a Normal monster, which can be relevant if you want to play Silent Doom or Swing of Memories. Being a Vanilla, Guard also doesn’t count towards Trinity Format’s Summon Limit.

The White Stone of Legend can also be used as a tuner that can search a Blue-Eyes, but it’s a little risky when you’re likely only playing one Blue-Eyes. It is better saved for variants that focus more on Blue-Eyes than more dedicated Dragon Ruler builds. Finally, Effect Veiler doubles up as a Handtrap for when you don’t need to make Synchro monsters. The main disadvantage of both of these cards is their lack of searchability by the Dagon Rulers themselves.

Level 2 & Level 3 Tuners

Level 2 Tuners aren’t really worth playing here, since there aren’t many Level 9 Synchros who only require 1 non-tuner monster (the main one being Vermillion Dragon Mech). Dragunity Phalanx can be summoned with Dragunity Dux (which can be searched by Dragon Ravine), but this isn’t especially relevant, since this inteaction requires a lot of setup. It also uses up all 3 of your Summons to make one level 6 Synchro. Galaxy Serpent is an okay-ish choice for a more vanilla-focused build with Silent Doom and Swing of Memories.

Level 3 Tuners are only ever going to be used to make Leo, the Keeper of the Sacred Tree, which is a Boss monster in its own right. Hand Traps, such as Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit or Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, can be used to fill this slot if needed.  Delta Flyer can also be in this slot to help in making Star Eater, if you’re so inclined.

Level 4 Tuners

Debris Dragon is the only card worth playing here. Debris generally doesn’t make Synchro monsters with the Dragon Rulers: instead, it can recover a Poki Draco or Lightning, Dragon Ruler of Drafts in order to make a level 7 Synchro Monster! 1-card Black Rose Dragons are never a bad thing, especially when Debris is searchable through Tempest.

If you hadn’t noticed, Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms is the only Ruler capable of searching any tuner from level 1 through 4. Because of this, it typically gets banished more often than any other Dragon Ruler. Cards like Pot of Acquisitiveness or Burial from a Different Dimension can help recycle a banished Tempest.

Other Maindeck Monsters

Koa’Ki Meiru Drago is a 1900 level 4 beatstick which floodgates LIGHT and DARK decks fist in perfectly. He’s also searchable via Tempest (yet again). If Poki Draco isn’t aggressive enough as a Normal Summon for you, Koa’Ki Meiru Drago is the number one pick.

Keeper of the Shrine is another level 4, and another target for Debris (With which to make Rank 4 XYZ monsters or level 8 Synchros). Any time one of your Dragons dies, Keeper brings himself back online to protect you from OTKs. However, he’s a DARK and therefore not searchable, but is a decent choice in spite of this.

Common Techs: Spells/Traps

Although the main bulk and focus of Dragon Rulers should be the monsters, Spell/Trap cards can help add consistency to the deck, as well as responses to opposing threats. Lots of newer Trinity players ignore the inclusion of Trap cards in their decks, as the TCG and OCG metagames generally don’t utilize Traps. However, in a much slower metagame Trap cards are critical for countering the opponent’s moves and stopping big damage swings.

Consistency – Searching

The most important part of the early game for Dragon Rulers is setting up the graveyard with a few Rulers. To do this, cards like Dragon RavineFoolish Burial, and Dragon Shrine should be staples – they’re essentially extra copies of the Dragon Rulers that we want to mill. Foolish Burial can also send a Glow-Up Bulb for synchro plays. Dragon Ravine searches any of the “Dragunity” monsters for Synchro plays, as well as being able to mill a copy of Destrudo the Lost Dragon’s Frission to make level 7 Synchro monsters. Finally, Gold Sarcophagus can banish any card we need to get later in the game, or can be used to banish a Ruler and trigger its search effect!

Consistency – Draw Power

Draw power is also useful for keeping our draws consistent. Upstart Goblin and Pot of Duality are the main ways to do this, but Sacred Sword of Seven Stars, Cards of Consonance, and Supply Squad all fit in here as well. Card of Safe Return and Super Rejuvenation are both also legal in this format! You might feel that Card of Safe Return is insane here, although it usually only nets 2-3 draws a game, as long as it’s not removed by a card effect. The Summon Limit prevents any broken-ness here. Super Rejuvenation allows us to draw a few cards to make up for the cost of Dragon Ravine and the baby rulers, although in my playtesting of this deck I found it to be a dead draw a lot of the time.

Consistency – Recursion

The Dragon Rulers themselves already have built-in recursion effects, but if you feel that this isn’t enough, there are a lot of other viable choices. Return of the Dragon LordsShuffle Reborn, and Premature Burial can help bring back tuners and rulers alike. The usual suite of Call of the Haunted, Oasis of Dragon Souls, and Back to the Front also all fit in well here. They even give you more triggers for Card of Safe Return!

Lastly, Instant Fusion doesn’t help with any of your usual Synchro Monsters, but can be used to Summon Elder Entity Norden. Norden can revive a level 4 or lower monster for a lower level Synchro or Xyz play.


Interaction is a crucial component to any deck. Bottomless Trap Hole, Floodgate Trap Hole, Torrential Tribute, and Compulsory Evacuation Device are all mainstay trap cards. Giant Trunade or can help when you need to push damage through or evade an opponent’s set of backrow. It can even bounce a Dragon Ravine or Premature Burial back to your hand to be re-used!

Solemn Warning and Solemn Strike are also good all-round cards: They can negate any Extra Deck plays and assist in keeping your Poki Draco on board. If you’re really desperate to make sure that your plays go through, Solemn Scolding can even be played here.

Semi-Forbidden Cards

Trinity Format features “Semi-Forbidden” cards. Here’s a quick recap of how they work:

  • Normally, you can’t have any Semi-Forbidden cards in your deck.
  • The minimum maindeck size is 30.
  • For every extra 5 cards in your deck, you can include 1 Semi-Forbidden card, or 1 extra Unlimited card.

Because of this, Dragons usually want to play 40-50 cards in the maindeck. This lets you play 2-4 extra cards, some of which can be extremely powerful. Metamorphosis is Unlimited, and can be used to turn a Dragon into The Last Warrior From Another Planet, who is Semi-Forbidden. PSY-Framelord Omega is an insanely powerful Level 8 Synchro, who is also Semi-Forbidden. He can steal cards from the opponent’s hand and even return banished Rulers to the Graveyard! Finally, any generic Semi-Forbidden card is never a bad call. Change of Heart and Heavy Storm can help with pushing damage through and Graceful Charity can help in drawing through your deck. There are a lot of possible inclusions here, which leads me on to all of the different variants of Dragon Rulers:

Basic 30-Card Build

Basic Ruler
Basic Rulers – 30 Cards

This is the bread-and-butter build of Trinity Dragon Rulers. I’ve chosen to exclude Stream, Dragon Ruler of Droplets here, as getting to Tidal isn’t so important: There aren’t many good Tidal searches worth playing. Reactan, Dragon Ruler of Pebbles is slightly better, as Redox’s 3000 DEF points are useful for walling up against aggro strategies. If you feel like Stream is needed, feel free to throw it back in.

Crane Crane is a sneaky tech here for use with Poki Draco or another level 3 monster. Making a Wind-Up Zenmaines is an unexpected play, and a powerful one at that – Zenmaines by itself can grind out the opponent for a win. The Extra Deck doesn’t need to be too specific, although Red-Eyes Flare Metal Dragon, Black Rose Dragon, and Stardust Spark Dragon are all good calls. Leo, the Keeper of The Sacred Tree is easier to make if you want to maindeck handtraps (Such as Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit). Lastly, although it doesn’t come up too often, using an Instant Fusion to summon Elder Entity Norden, then reviving a level 4 for Evilswarm Exciton Knight can be a game-breaker.

If you’re playing the bare bones of this deck, It’d probably cost around $30. You might even have lots of the cards already! The full deck with complete Extra Deck is still extremely cheap, especially for what’s close to a Tier 1 deck.

Various-Eyes Ruler Variants

Both Red-Eyes and Blue-Eyes dragon ruler variants are quite viable here. The Blue-Eyes deck focuses more heavily on Number 95: Galaxy-Eyes Dark Matter Dragon, and other Rank 8 XYZ monsters. In such a build, you might want to play Mythic Tree Dragon and Mythic Water Dragon, who are searchable and can perform a rank 8 play.

The Red-Eyes variants have more synergy with Rank 7 Xyz monsters, since Red-Eyes B. Dragon happens to be level 7. Also, both Red-Eyes B. Dragon and Red-Eyes Black Flare Dragon are Vanilla monsters while in the Graveyard, meaning that you can not only revive them with Silent Doom and Swing of Memories, but doing so will also not affect your Summon Limit!

Red-Eyes Rulers
Red-Eyes Rulers (Ft. Graceful Charity & PSY-Framelord Omega)

This variant of Red-Eyes Rulers isn’t as consistent as the above build, but has a much higher Ceiling. Both the Semi-Forbidden PSY-Framelord Omega and Graceful Charity add a lot of power to the deck, and the inclusion of Red-Eyes monsters in conjunction with Silent Doom give the deck a lot of recursion. Terraforming has a second target here in Chicken Game, which doubles up as an Upstart Goblin replacement.


Ritual Ruler

Ritual Rulers
Ritual Rulers (Ft. Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands)

This is a very Trinity-Exclusive deck. I’m pretty confident in saying that Ritual Monsters and Dragon rulers have never competitively been a thing together in the TCG or OCG. This deck is very aggressive. It tries to win on the second or third turn of the game, either by dealing massive amounts of damage through a few direct attacks, or by using Odd-Eyes Gravity Dragon and/or Red-Eyes Flare Metal Dragon to punish the opponent for activating cards. The other two Ritual monsters included here are Demise, King of Armageddon, and Lord of the Red. Both of these are used to dismantle your opponent’s field before going in for damage swings. You should note that Lord of the Red and Odd-Eyes Gravity Dragon are both searchable via the Dragon Rulers!

You can also find a few more boss monsters in the Extra Deck here – Dragocytos Corrupted Nethersoul Dragon is summonable off of Dragard + Labradorite Dragon, and First of the Dragons is easy to make with Dragon’s Mirror! All of the vanilla monsters needed to make these plays are usually send from the deck to the graveyard with Advanced Ritual Art, which is an Unbound card. This is also the reason as to why cards like Silver’s Cry are in the deck, which adds to your OTK potential.

In Closing

Whether you’re trying out Trinity for the first time, or are already at the forefront of the format, Dragon Rulers are a deck to try out. With both power and consistency at their disposal, and an arsenal of Semi-Forbidden cards which synergise well with the rest of the deck, Dragon Ruler is a solid starting place for anyone joining the format.

The decks shown above only show a tiny portion of what’s possible with the level 7 Behemoths and are by no means optimized. Trinity is a format built on creativity and discovery – try tinkering around with other Dragon support cards and see what you can make!

Until then – Stay Groovy!



Creator of the Trinity Format; article writer and tabletop games enthusiast.

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